Unbeknownst to most consumers, hardware laboratories all over the world are constantly working to engineer new products. Innovative hardware makes use of the best the mechanical world has to offer, using leverage, compressed air and rotational motion to grant easy access to hard-to-reach areas. When the doors and drawers in kitchens and closets operate smoothly users barely notice the hardware, and that is the way it should be. But when a savvy designer is looking for ways to maximize space, hardware is a big consideration. Recent advances in functional hardware help to drive designs. Trends toward eliminating base cabinets in favor of big drawers that can accommodate pots, pans and plates are possible because of modern slides and soft-close features. The sleek look of handless drawer fronts can be achieved because of hardware systems that open with a touch of the hand. And spaces that were previously impossible to access are transformed into functional storage areas by hardware that spins and lifts.
These examples of inventive hardware were supplied by some of the major manufacturers. Each company was asked to select a favorite product, which in retrospect is something like asking a mother to select a favorite child. Most sent more then one. The following items were chosen to showcase a wide range of hardware that is commonly used in high-end kitchen and storage design, but is in no way exhaustive.
Glissando from Lama: Gently Descending Notes
With integrated damping systems and a comprehensive family of soft closing solutions Titus+Lama+Huwil hardware use senso, strato and verso to close furniture doors softly.
The “Glissando” name is derived from a musical term meaning “gently descending notes” and is applied by Lama to a motion damper which “gently slows” the door.
Glissando TL is a hinge integrated damping system that “snaps on” for toolless mounting. This reduces assembly time and increases application flexibility. Glissando FF meets the needs of frame kitchen designs for sophisticated door actions. Designed for use on framed cabinets together with any face frame hinge, Glissando FF is a discrete design mounted independently of the hinge, giving optimal closing speed for any door dimensions and weight. It can be mounted at any time after furniture assembly so it can be offered as a retro fit option by installers.
Glissando 170 is offered as a stand-alone damper with adjustable damping force for wide-angle hinges. Glissando dampers’ discrete design enhances the look of the door and occupies minimal space in the cabinet interior. All Glissandos feature quarter turn adjustment to provide optimal closing speed for any door dimensions and weight.
Glissando MS the last from the range of soft-closing systems for hinges, is suitable for cabinets of smaller dimensions applied where space is limited. Glissando MS is a stand-alone damper of discrete design featuring adjustable damping force.
Also pictured is Huwilift E-Strato and E-Senso from Huwil brand, exciting electrically powered lifters featuring electric opening by remote control or sensor.
Salice’s Uplifting Designs
Cabinet doors that lift to open are changing the way that homeowners use upper cabinets. Hardware that opens cabinets by lifting the door up and out of the way have made it easier to use those spaces. They also reduce the risk of head-bonking on open cabinet doors. In addition to cabinets, lift systems make great appliance garages on the counter level. Salice offers LIFT, a collection of four opening systems for flap doors, folding doors, swing-opening doors and parallel-opening doors. The various LIFT systems were created to offer alternative ways to open wall unit doors, giving greater design flexibility while offering better space utilization. All LIFT systems are suitable for wooden doors or aluminum-framed doors and they all incorporate the exclusive Smove decelerating system for a soft close. LIFT for flap doors can be used for doors with a handle or alternatively without a handle, using the PUSH self-opening system.
Blum’s SERVO-DRIVE Waste Bin Set
Even a beautiful, high-end kitchen needs a place to put the trash. In modern kitchens waste/recycle cabinets are built in to the design. They must be inconspicuous, easy to use and able to withstand repeated opening and closing.
Blum, Inc. uses the SERVO-DRIVE drawer opening system for innovative kitchen solutions. They have created a waste/recycle bin set to simplify ordering and installation. The set comes with all the SERVO-DRIVE components needed for a new installation or retrofit, including: the power supply, power cord, wall mounting bracket, drive unit, cable, detailed instructions and a cardboard boring template.
With SERVO-DRIVE a light touch of the drawer front is all that’s required and the drawer opens by itself. When hands are full, wet or dirty it is easy to open the waste/recycle bin drawer with a tap of the hip or knee.
Häfele “Revs Up” the Kitchen with Lemans
Blind corners with difficult to operate hardware are a thing of the past with Häfele’s new LeMans. The smooth operating, full swing LeMans blind corner shelf system combines turning and swinging into one flawless motion. Top and bottom shelves pivot independently and travel completely out from the corner cabinet providing maximum access. Shelf surfaces are available in a choice of white or hard rock maple. Non-slip melamine ensures pots and pans will stay in place to create less noise. Shelf edges are sealed offering the end user easy clean up. Polished chrome railings complete the contemporary styling of LeMans. The LeMans blind corner shelf system is compatible with framed and frameless cabinet construction giving American kitchen designers and cabinetmakers access to high quality, European designed kitchen accessories. Shelves are conveniently sized for 16", 18" and 21" openings.
Grass SENSOTRONIC – The World’s First Electronically-controlled Drawer System
Grass’ surprisingly simple Sensotronic system makes it possible to design a sleek contemporary kitchen without a single handle in sight. This electronically-controlled drawer system opens as if by magic with a slight touch. Sensotronic is an intelligent system, as soon as the automatic movement is interrupted, the drawer stops. A gentle tap returns the drawer to the closed position.
Rev-A-Shelf Revolutionizes Closets
Rev-A-Shelf’s rotating Lazy Shoe-Zen is perfect for those previously useless 14" deep corners. This innovative product brings inner peace to cluttered closets. It is available in a five-shelf ladies version that holds up to 25 pairs of shoes, and a three shelf men’s version that holds up to 12 pairs of shoes. Both feature 360-degree rotating, clear acrylic adjustable shelves with shoes horns made from high grade plastic. Each set of shoe horns has individual shoe height adjustment for various shoes sizes and 360-degree rotation for easy shoe removal. A built-in 180-degree detent ensures shoes are always facing out for ease in coordinating while dressing. The ladies version is designed for use in standard closets up to 96" in height, and the men’s version for up to 55" in height. Both versions can be modified to fit shorter height applications.
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